28 September, 2013

New Route: "Western Harlot" 4p 5.9

Squamish, and generally the entire Sea To Sky, has a serious load of climbs to get on.  Some of the hardest climbs in the world, and also the most classic, in both sport and traditional styles.  There are lots of great routes, but we still need more, especially in the lower grades for those who are just getting into mountain sports.  Routes that aren't super hard, such as the beautiful Squamish classic "Daily Planet" which goes at 5.12a on gear, but more like the ultra classic "Star Chek" (minus the runout) which is 3-4 pitches with it's crux being 5.9.
(Photo Above:  Heidi Savage following pitch 2 of the classic 'Star Chek')

Conny Amelunxen, Jamie Chong, Ben Groundwater, and I spent a number of days hauling ropes, drills, batteries, brushes, bolts, and other miscellaneous gear in to the route.  We set fixed lines to jug each pitch, and find the best moves on the route, all while cleaning moss, dirt, and loose rock from the route.  Each pitch was bolted, with bolted stations and chains, along with a rappel route beside the climb that also uses two of the routes stations.
(Photo Above:  Alex Wigley leading the crux pitch, photo: Conny Amelunxen)

Stoked to have finished digging off ledges, pulling moss, and generally getting beat up tired from working 8+ hour days, we decided to make a quick first ascent.  The route was definitely worth the time and effort.  Each lead is incredibly well protected (as planned), for the leader climbing at his or her limit, but really cool thoughtful moves in a beautiful position above the trees made the climb an classic in our eyes.  The climb faces the Tantalus range and the final view from the 'picnic' area at the top is amazing.  After climbing the route for the first time, I have to say cleaning routes is definitely fun and hard work, but it's also great fitness and super rewarding.
(Photo Above:  Jamie Chong enjoying the Tantalus View from the 'picnic' spot on the top of the route.  Photo: Conny Amelunxen.)

What might this have to do with skiing some may wonder, but climbing has everything to do with skiing, and is just as fun.  The only way to elevate your ski mountaineering skills and get on some real terrain, is by learning to climb.  Climbing is important to start feeling comfortable in high exposure, technical terrain, especially in areas where protection is sparse. Being able to push your limits up high in the mountains can only come from pushing your limits down low in the valley.  Skills need learning, technique needs polishing, as the only way to get better is to try harder and focus.  Where better to start than well protected sport routes?
(Photo Above:  Route Topo, click on image for a larger view)

Hope people new and well seasoned like the route!
Sendage.com - Route Info 

1 comment:

  1. Looks great. Thanks for the effort and adding a much needed moderate multi sport climb. Can I post this on squamish climbing?